Grottos, Lagos

6 Reviews

  • Grotto entrance, Lagos, Portugal.
    Grotto entrance, Lagos, Portugal.
    by planxty
  • Blowhole, Lagos, Portugal.
    Blowhole, Lagos, Portugal.
    by planxty
  • Boat trip, Lagos, Portugal.
    Boat trip, Lagos, Portugal.
    by planxty

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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Boat trip to the grottos

    by toonsarah Written Jul 9, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The coastline near Lagos is among the most interesting and scenic on the Algarve. Here the orange/brown limestone has been eroded into intriguing stacks, arches and grottos, with pretty little coves tucked among them, many accessible only by sea. The best way to see these formations is by boat and there are many trips available from stands along the Avenida dos Descobrimentos. Some are in quite large boats, others much smaller, and at least one, the Bom Dia, is a traditional-looking sailing boat (see the photos in my tip about the Avenida). Our VT crowd decided to go with the smaller boats which I think was a good call – these are better suited to weaving in and out of the rock formations, and in any case I always enjoy a ride in a small boat over a large one because of the extra movement and closeness to the water! And in case you're concerned at the size of the boat, be reassured that the boatmen all seem very skilled and all passengers are issued with life-jackets.

    The boats we chose operate from the southern end of the Avenida. The operator/owner must have thought it was Christmas when about 30 VTers arrived all wanting to book a trip, and he had to call for additional boats to take us all as there was room for only four people in each. The trip cost €15 for about 45 minutes and was well worth that in my view.

    Our pilot took us out of the river mouth and headed south along the coast. Soon we reached most interesting part and he started to weave among the formations while pointing out some of the more interesting which have been given unofficial names such as the ‘Elephant’ and the ‘Titanic’ – although as with all these things you sometimes have to use a lot of imagination to see the shape suggested! And to be honest these rather spectacular formations don’t need the addition of a name to make them interesting.

    We were also taken into a couple of the grottos and were astounded at the colour of the water in places (look at photo four which I can promise has not been touched up for colour in the slightest). The pilot did his best in the tossing waves to ensure that we all got a close look at the best sights, turning it until we had all taken some photos, but you’ll get the best views if you’re in one of the two front seats (although I suspect will also get wetter here – be prepared to be a little splashed!)

    The time went very quickly and we were too soon on our way back to the town. If I were to come here again I’d try to do a longer trip, although it may be that for these you have to go in the larger boats and may not get so close to the rocks. Other options available include dolphin-watching further out to sea and kayaking among the rocks, and we also saw people on escorted paddle-boarding trips.

    Next tip: lunch at The Garden

    Directions: Boats leave from the Avenida dos Descobrimentos which follows the river on the east side of the old town

    Tip Tip Tip Tip Tip
    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating

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  • planxty's Profile Photo

    This is well worth doing.

    by planxty Written Jun 14, 2016

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I mentioned on my introductory page for Lagos that my reason for being on the Algarve recently was for the L[http://members.virtualtourist.com/meeting/Euromeet_2016_in_Algarve_Portugal-7761/]Euromeet 2016 and one of the excursions available as a boat trip to see the "grottoes" (effictively sea caves) along the coast in the vicinity. I was undecided as to whether to bother and was just going to wander off in search of a beer but my friend persuaded me and I am so glad she did as I really enjoyed myself. If the reader wants to have go themselves, here is the drill.

    The jetty is almost opposite the square with the old church on the N125 which is the main road that runs alongside the water. If you find the Cafe Alma on the front it is not far from there, you won't miss it. At the top of the jetty you will find someone taking the money but don't worry this is not a scam, it is just the way they operate. The actual boatmen don't take the money and they must have some sort of co-operative going on. The cost as of May 2016 was €15 per person. If you are time constrained the whole event lasts about 45 minutes to an hour.

    Make your way down the jetty and there will (hopefully) be some pretty small open boats there which take four passengers each. Get on board and be careful as they do wobble a bit but the boatman will help you. Once seated, don the provided lifejackets and away you go, simple as that.

    Heading out of the rivermouth you turn right and head past the ancient town walls and a hugely impressive old bridge before you start along a magnificent coastline. I am no geologist so I cannot tell you all about what numerous the layers of rock are but I know the sea has eroded some fantastic little caves and blowholes not to mention numerous odd shaped rocks. Our boatman was a rotund and infectiously jovial chap and, although he did not have much English, he was explaining the names of the various rocks as every one seems to have been named. OK, some of them were a touch fanciful but I definitely got Elephant and Eagle and many others.

    Whilst on the water I noticed a couple of larger boats and yachts obviously with tourists aboard and I am sure they are very comfortable but then you miss the best bit and that is actually going into the caves which genuinely is amazing in the true sense of the word. Even in May there were plenty of boats so you may have to queue for a while and they don't spend long in there as there isn't a lot of room in there. For the energetic (for which read younger than me) there were also a fair number of kayaks out which might have been great fun about 25 years ago before I wrecked my back!

    I mentioned that you do not spend too much time in each cave so make sure you have your camera battery well charged and ready to go. I knew I went on a complete shutter frenzy and there is only space for five images on a tip so I will construct a travelogue or two to showcase my amateur photographic efforts. For me the highlight was in one cave where there is the most incredibly coloured water I have ever seen anywhere. The image is totally unretouched and taken on a cheap little compact but I hope it gives an idea.

    As I said at the top of this piece I was in two minds as to whether or not to do it but I loved it and do recommend it highly.

    Directions: See the main body of the text for full instructions.

    Boat trip, Lagos, Portugal. Ancient Bridge, Lagos, Portugal. Grotto entrance, Lagos, Portugal. Blowhole, Lagos, Portugal. Look at that colour - amazing.
    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Family Travel

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  • kevin36's Profile Photo

    The Grottos 2 (Desciptions)

    by kevin36 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If this is your first visit to Lagos, you simply must take a "grotto tour". Step into a small fishing boat, let your local fisherman be your guide, and witness from the water, the distinctive and magnificent cliffs that surround the Lagos area. It is truly a sight unseen! Your guide will navigate around and under the intriguing rock formations, take you into caves and point out the many secluded beaches that surround the town.

    You can take the grotto tour by signing-up with one of the vendors along marble sidewalk in front of town. Alternatively, catch a boat at Praia Dona Ana or at Ponte da Piedad. This tour offers a little variety to your beach day. The fisherman bring the boats right to the beach, and you can generally get a good rate here
    Approximately €10 to €20 per person, based on your starting point

    Address: Lagos

    Directions: Head for the harbour front

    The battleship Camels Head The Elephant The Fat Lady The Camel

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  • kevin36's Profile Photo

    The grottos

    by kevin36 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If this is your first visit to Lagos, you simply must take a "grotto tour". Step into a small fishing boat, let your local fisherman be your guide, and witness from the water, the distinctive and magnificent cliffs that surround the Lagos area. It is truly a sight unseen! Your guide will navigate around and under the intriguing rock formations, take you into caves and point out the many secluded beaches that surround the town.

    You can take the grotto tour by signing-up with one of the vendors along marble sidewalk in front of town. Alternatively, catch a boat at Praia Dona Ana or at Ponte da Piedad. This tour offers a little variety to your beach day. The fisherman bring the boats right to the beach, and you can generally get a good rate here
    Approximately €10 to €20 per person, based on your starting point.
    The Video

    Address: Near Harbour Entrance

    Directions: Depending on the tide they are normally just inside the harbour /you will see their bill boards.
    Boats to the grotto's

    Our Guide to the grottos Grottos Grottos looking out Grottos The hard way down to grottos
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Beaches

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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Taking a boat trip to the grottoes.

    by cachaseiro Written Sep 7, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Just a couple of miles away from Lagos you have the famous Ponte de Piedade where you have some of the nicest rock formations in Portugal and you have many boat trips to the grottoes leaving from Lagos.
    The cheapest trips are taken with the small boats operated by old local guys who have a little stand by the end of the river.
    They are cheaper than the people standing close to the marina who generally offer longer and more expensive trips that includes more than visiting the grottoes.
    The trips to Ponte de Piedade are worth doing and I would say it is a must while you are in Lagos.

    One of the small boats going to Ponte da Piedade. Coming back from the grottoes.
    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating

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  • Westbrook's Profile Photo

    A local nutcase takes you out in a boat

    by Westbrook Updated Apr 23, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The locals were surprised when they realised that I'd not heard of their internationally renowned grottos. To plug this hole in my knowledge we signed up for a trip to visit them.

    Great way to spend a spare hour. Make sure:
    a) the tide's out
    b) the sun's out
    c) the chap driving the boat's not on speed

    Then look for one of the dozen or so operators strewn along the Avenida and in the Marina.

    You get picked up on the quayside and taken on the a tour of the beaches and coastal rock formations. The boats are small, and the driver's keen... to impress you with their deft boat handling skills and their ability to call out the names of animals in English and German. We later learned that this was the guided part of the trip, and the animals were what the rocks apparently resembled. Perhaps, if you've been getting through a lot of the local wine.

    On the plus side, the boat will take you on a tour past the best westward beaches, through impressive golden rock arches and into, otherwise inaccesible, caves.

    Not bad for EUR 7 each.

    Address: From all around the quayside.

    Cave exploration from the ocean

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